Vlasic on course to defend high jump title

BERLIN — Defending high jump champion Blanka Vlasic stayed on course to defend her World Championships title, despite a morning mishap at her hotel.

The Croatian hit her head Tuesday doing some routine jumps at the hotel that required six stitches. She showed no signs of the minor injury when clearing 1.95m to head the field going into the final.

She was unable to go through her regular warmups, but still managed to clear all four of her jumps on her first attempt to advance to Thursday’s deciding competition.

"It is in the morning, it was a qualification – this is never easy for me. So I am happy that I am in the final without even wasting too much energy. The final? I cannot predict anything," Vlasic said.

Arch rival Ariane Friedrich of Germany was even more impressive, as she took one jump at 1.95m before packing her bags and headed back for a relax day at her hotel.

Also looking good in the morning session, was Italy’s Antonietta Di Martino, one of the outsiders looking to pose a serious medal threat on the top two.

American Chaunté Howard-Lowe, Spain’s Ruth Beitia and Russians Anna Chicherova and Elena Slesarenko will also be in the running for a medal on Thursday.

In other early morning competition in the field, favourites Gerd Kanter and Virgilijus Alekna breezed through the discus qualifying competition with respective one-time throws of  66.73m and 65.04m.

On the track, title favourites Maryam Yusuf Jamal (BRN, 4:08.76) and Gelete Burka (ETH, 4:07.75) won their respective 1,500m qualifying heats, with the third and field heat going to Russia’s Anna Alminova (4:08.13), just ahead of Kenya’s Nancy Jebet Langat (4:08.16).

"It was tactical, we had to push a little bit, but on the whole it was really easy," Jamal said. "My competitions this season were good although at the beginning it was a little tough.

"At the start of the season, when I’m doing my training, it sometimes takes me two or three competitions to get race-sharp."

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